Sunlight Foundation

Apps for America 2: The Data.gov Challenge

What it Is

Apps for America is a special contest we're putting on this year to celebrate the release of Data.gov! We're doing it alongside Google, O'Reilly Media, and TechWeb and the winners will be announced at the Gov 2.0 Expo Showcase in Washington, DC at the end of the Summer.

Why we're doing it

Just as the federal government begins to provide data in Web developer-friendly formats, we're organizing Apps for America 2: The Data.gov Challenge to demonstrate that when government makes data available, it makes itself more accountable and creates more trust and opportunity in its actions. The contest submissions will also show the creativity of developers in designing compelling applications that provide easy access and understanding for the public, while also showing how open data can save the government tens of millions of dollars by engaging the development community in application development at far cheaper rates than traditional government contractors.

How to Compete

  1. Contestants must join the Sunlight Labs Google Group.

  2. Entries must be applications that use at least one of the data sources or content from Data.gov.

  3. Entries can be client applications, web based applications, applications that use the Adobe AIR platform, iPhone apps, Java applications or whatever other kind of platform you'd like to write it in. We use Django or Rails for most of ours. There's a caveat here though: judges have to be able to judge the application. Which means building something on an esoteric platform or something that requires lots of strange libraries in order to run won't get easily judged and won't get a very good score as a consequence. So make sure your application is easy for judges to judge when making a platform selection. This means there's a strong preference for web based tools.

  4. While not required, bonus points go to using one of Sunlight's open source libraries, APIs or APIs and libraries of our partners like maplight, opensecrets, and followthemoney.org!

  5. All software you write has to be licensed under any OSI approved license

  6. If you are a candidate, 527 or party committee or other organization that a non-profit cannot give money to, you are not eligible. Your staff is welcome to compete as individuals though. Also ineligible: staff of the Sunlight Foundation.

  7. You can team up however you want. If you win the big prize, we'll work with you to split the money to your specifications within reason. (e.g. if you are a team of 10,000 developers, we're not sending 10,000 $1 checks)

Criteria

Awards will be judged based on the following criteria:

  1. Transparency: Does the app help citizens see things they couldn't see before the app existed?

  2. Permanence: Will the app be usable over a long period of time? Does the idea have survivability?

  3. Design & Visualization: Does the app look great? Does the app visualize data in a new and interesting way?

Prizes

  • First Place (1): $10,000

  • Second Place (1): $5,000

  • Third Place (1): $2,500

  • Honorable Mention (10): $500

  • Super bonus visualization prize: We'll be giving out a $2500 prize to the entrant that has the best visualization of the data on data.gov that may be given in addition to the prizes mentioned above.

This year, the first, second and third prize winners (and the visualization prize winner, if that is not one of the first, second or third place winners) will also receive airfare and hotel placement for a trip to Washington, DC. While in Washington, DC, they'll attend our awards ceremony at the Gov 2.0 Expo Showcase by O'Reilly Media and TechWeb. They'll get a chance to demo their applications both at the Awards Ceremony, as well as at a table with the other winners during the convention.

An individual can have as many entries as they'd like, and an individual can win one prize per entry they provide, however, one entry cannot win more than one prize other than the super bonus visualization prize.

Judges

  • Tim O'Reilly - Founder, O'Reilly Media
  • Chris DiBona - Open Source Program Manager, Google
  • Clay Johnson - Director, Sunlight Labs
  • Allyson Kapin - Co-Founder Rad Campaign, Women Who Tech
  • Cyrus Krohn - Director of Local Programming at Microsoft and former Director of the Republican National Committee's e-Campaign Division

Sorry, but we don't have all the judges yet. We'll let you know who the remaining judges are once we have them committed.

Submission

Submit your app at the Apps for America 2 Submission Form.

Timeline

  • You develop apps between now and 11:59:59pm Pacific Time August 7th.
  • Between August 7th and August 22nd, our judges will select three finalists.
  • Everyone will vote for their favorite of the three finalists from August 24th to September 7th.
  • All the winners will be announced at Gov 2.0 Expo in Washington, DC on September 8th at Gov 2.0 Expo Showcase

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